Preferred Destination: The Florida Keys
Date Posted: March 21, 2022
Source: Ed Tillett, Editor-In-Chief

When Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe was sailing and exploring the Keys at the turn of the 20th century from his home on Biscayne Bay, he ducked in and out of Hawk Channel through the myriad channels along the islands and spent many nights anchored in their lees.

The Commodore’s reminisces of the settlements and people of that time are delightful reading and portray Florida as a new frontier and destination for visitors seeking warm weather and a tropical paradise.

Today the Keys remain worthy of discovery and those who make the journey are seldom disappointed. Boating, kayaking, cruising and biking in the Florida Keys are just as magical as they have always been.

The past several years have not been ordinary travel experiences. In spite of the restrictions and health concerns of the global pandemic, outdoor activities and the open-air year-round lifestyle that is possible in the Keys have offered some sense of solace when there. Waterway Guide traveled to Florida in the Winter to visit marinas, restaurants and local residents to get a sense of how the communities were responding.

There certainly was a reduction in the number of visitors encountered on the streets of Key West and traffic on US 1 was lighter than normal, but restaurants, shops and waterfronts were open for business and managing their operations with caution. For those of us not from such a climate it was refreshing to be in the tropics in the winter.

We navigated Hawk Channel in a 35-foot Pursuit Offshore on the way south from Pompano Beach and returned home via the inside route, stopping in Fort Lauderdale for lunch. Our time in Florida and the Keys was as relaxing as ever. No wonder so many enjoy what the Keys offer.

We are fortunate to have such an endearing and historical stretch of islands for exploring and relaxing, and that some distinctive spaces have been set aside for our collective enjoyment. You will discover something new every time you visit the Keys.

Enjoy, play it safe and keep us updated on your adventures. We always like hearing from our friends on the water. You can review and comment on your experiences on our Waterway Explorer ( and pick up a copy of our new Florida Keys guidebook or subscribe online. See you in the Keys.

Our hosts were Marathon Marina and Resort, Stock Island Yacht Club and Marina, and Caloosa Cove Resort and Marina. Their staffs and management were all on point and facilities in full swing to provide us undivided attention while visiting.


Comment Submitted by Diane Fowler - March 29, 2023

We just visited Ft Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, for our 6th visit. Fort missing many bricks, all the huge tarpon by old coal dock pilings are GONE, and the 2 mooring balls for popular wreck off Loggerhead Key are missing! Seaplanes scream next to our boat every 1/2 hour..... was most disappointing....

Comment Submitted by brian richard mcmahon - March 23, 2022

Ah, the Florida keys.  We have many great memories there including diving the coral reefs, exploring Florida Bay, listening to wonderful Island music, and eating some really good food at the local restaurants.  If you want to experience a very different life style, see Key West and maybe take a trip out to the Dry Tortugas.

Soon as I receive our new pontoon boat, we plan to head back down there.

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